“You are what you eat” isn’t a saying you should take lightly. In fact what you eat can change everything, and what you eat can even increase fertility and boost your health! If you’re trying to get pregnant or increase your chances these foods are great when you’re trying to conceive. If you’re already pregnant, keep reading because these diet choices are perfect for you as well.
According to a study from Harvard Medical School foods make a difference when you’re trying to get pregnant. You might not be able to control some aspects of your pregnancy like age and genetics but you can control what you eat!
“Eating as if you’re already pregnant can actually help prime your body for conception,” says Sarah Krieger, R.D., a nutritionist based in St. Petersburg, Florida.
Just as we mentioned in our last blog that taking prenatal vitamins three months prior to conception is also beneficial.
Fertility Diet 101
Eat food rich in antioxidants! Folate and zinc are antioxidants that improve fertility for men and women. This is because there are free radicals in your body that can damage sperm and egg cells, having antioxidant rich foods can deactivate those free radicals, protecting your body. This means eating fruits, vegetables, nuts and grains which are all beneficial for your fertility diet.
Start the day smart with a large breakfast. Studies found that women that ate a full breakfast had improved hormonal effects if they were experiencing PCOS (polycystic ovary syndrome). For women with PCOS, eating a higher calorie breakfast actually reduced insulin & testosterone levels which often contribute to infertility. Either way, if you have PCOS or not, starting the day off with a balanced meal is better for your body.
Stay away from fried and processed foods, baked goods like donuts or cakes, vegetable oils and sometimes margarine. These trans fats increase the risk of infertility in men and women. Just remember, healthy fats are great but trans fats aren’t!
Proteins are an essential part of our diet but it’s important to remember to add a little variety in your protein sources. Most people get their protein from meat, fish and eggs but there are also vegetable proteins found in beans, seeds and nuts. Studies show adding vegetable proteins reduce the risk of infertility.
If you’re struggling with PCOS try a low carb diet to help reduce insulin levels and maintain a healthy weight.
In general cut back on refined carbs such as sugary foods and drinks, processed grains like bread, rice and pasta cause a spike in blood sugar and insulin levels. If you’re having a difficult time getting pregnant it might be because refined carbs are changing your insulin levels, insulin is chemically similar to ovarian hormones and if you body is reading them as if they are already there, it can cause your body to produce fewer reproductive hormones on its own. This can cause a lack of egg maturation and ovulation.
Fiber and more fiber, why do you want to eat foods with more fiber? Because fiber helps your body get rid of excess hormones and keeps your blood sugar balanced. The best foods to help you remove excess estrogen are avocados, sweet potatoes, oats, and fruits. You can also find fiber in whole grains, and beans as well as other fruits and vegetables.
Other things you can eat when you’re trying to get pregnant are:
For Her:Beans & Lentils are high in protein and fiber which can improve ovulation.Avocados are crucial in the early states of pregnancy. They are a healthy fat with vitamin K and potassium.Quinoa is a great source of protein, zinc, and folic acid. This helps maintain healthy growth for the baby. While giving your body essential amino acids that you’d often get from meat products, but without potentially harmful additives found in meat.Greek Yogurt and Cheese are fatty foods that make you feel good and offer your body calcium, probiotics and vitamin D as well as protein. These help with ovulation and also a successful pregnancy.Egg yolks are often left behind in order to cut back on calories but to have a good fertility diet you need to include them to get the fatty acids your body needs as they are packed with omega-3s. They also provide folic acid which helps create red blood cells during pregnancy.
Sunflower Seeds help maintain sperm motility because they are rich in vitamin E and offer amounts of zinc, folic acid, and selenium.For you and your significant other:Berries (raspberries, blueberries, strawberries) are an antioxidant-rich food and help improve fertility and have high levels of vitamin C.Salmon is a healthy fat that offers protein and omega-3s to help improve fetal development and for men to raise semen levels. *Wild-caught salmon is suggested to decrease the presence of mercury.Asparagus is a great food to eat to increase fertility as studies show one cup of boiled asparagus will provide you with 60% of you daily recommended value of folic acid and vitamin K. This help strengthen your reproductive healthy as it also gives you more than 20% of vitamin A, C, and B. It’s also good for men because of the substantial amounts of zinc and selenium that increase sperm production and sperm motility to increase fertility.Walnuts eaten on a regular basis have been shown to improve semen health, they are also packed with omega-3s and omega-6s that help maintain brain function and regulate hormones.
If you’re going through fertility treatments, remember that it isn’t all about the medications and procedures. What you eat and maintaining healthy lifestyle choices can make a difference when you’re planning on getting pregnant. Healthy foods and well rounded diets can increase your fertility levels and give you and your future baby the nutrients you both need.
Make it fun, try experimenting with new recipes in order to incorporating the foods listed above. Keep a diary of the foods you’re enjoying each day in order to make sure you’re staying on track and giving yourself the best chances for getting pregnant.